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Jake Abma

Founder and CEO | Accessibility Strategist

Jake Abma – Founder and CEO
Accessibility Strategist

With more than two decades of experience Jake Abma has proven to be a world-recognized thought leader on inclusiveness and digital accessibility.

For the last decade Jake has set up new directions for ING Bank by solving challenges in finding best practices improving processes and technology solutions.

Authoring the global legal standard for accessibility, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) at the W3C, serving ambassadorship for the UN CRPD, chairing interbank working groups, and being part of many other working groups like the W3C’s Accessibility Maturity Model Task Force, Jake’s experience supersedes in effective and efficient leadership making inclusive projects easier and cheaper to implement.


Specializing in multiple disciplines from Design, UX, Interaction Design, Development, Product Ownership, Accessibility Lead, to participating in, and chairing of, multiple working groups Jake has extended experience in the technology stack for building inclusive products.

When more than a decade ago his mother got a thrombosis and he saw that she needed to learn everything all over again and had serious problems using digital products, Jake realized how important it is for those products to be as accessible as possible.

Together with his experience in IT he committed himself to make sure to deliver a contribution to make the world a bit more inclusive.

Accessibility Lead for ING Bank

ING Bank logo

For the last decade Jake has set up a raft of initiatives to make sure products and services are accessible to people with the widest range of capabilities.

Since then, Jake has been a passionate promoter of accessibility. He has made sure that accessibility principles can be found within ING’s user interface design system.

Design System

Starting at ING bank as a CSS specialist he invented and introduced the first modular design and component library, nowadays known as a design system. From within the new design system team he began focussing on, and enabling of, inclusiveness and accessibility which exceeded expectations. He became a  passionate promoter both inside and outside the bank.

“And it’s not just for IT, but for Branding, Product Owners, The Business, designers, developers, the whole spectrum.”

Jake Abma

Product Owner

ING introduced different initiatives to ensure full customer accessibility to services and products, initially on a somewhat ad-hoc basis. Setting up a new team with a 100% focus on accessibility where Jake became the Product Owner for Team A11Y and his mission was to make it managed and documented.

Building the right technology, and creating standards, was a top priority for Jake and his team, which was made up of people from different disciplines, such as IT, UX and communication, some of them having a disability themselves.

“We also set up a Champions Network, inspired by BBC and Barclays, and we’ve launched pages on the Dutch ING website inviting feedback from customers on what their needs are, communicating with them about what we were doing and how we could help them banking independently.”

Jake Abma

Like no other he’s aware of the big challenges to be solved when processes and related cultures need to adapt and which right tools to use for the specific job.

Accessibility Guild

An Accessibility Guild within ING, along the lines of the Spotify model, was another of Jake’s initiatives.

The Guild invites colleagues from different departments – IT, communication, debit cards, ATMs, branding, to come together and see how they can all help and strengthen each other. 

“This is currently just in the Netherlands,” says Jake, “but with the rise in modular architecture, with projects like TouchPoint Architecture and Model Bank, it became relevant for other countries too.”

Jake Abma

Jake was in regular contact with countries such as Spain, Poland, Germany, and Belgium, sharing best practices on accessibility from the Netherlands.


W3C logo

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG WG)

From an international perspective Jake is an invited expert in the WCAG WG (the working group for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) of the W3C. This is the global and often legal standard for accessibility.

The mission of the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group (AG WG) is to develop guidelines to make Web content accessible for people with disabilities and to develop and maintain implementation support materials for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

His Invited Expert status also involves the Accessible Platform Architectures Working Group (APA)

Maturity Model Task Force

As a core member and initiator of the Maturity Model Task Force (MMTF APA WG) Jake helps to write a harmonized and standardized approach for tackling inclusiveness and accessibility in an organization.

The intent of the Accessibility Maturity Modeling subcommittee of the Accessibility Guidelines Working Group is to explore how performing a structured maturity modeling assessment can assist organizations of any type and size in achieving and maintaining accessible products both for sale and for internal use by employees, partners, vendors, and contingent workers.

Other Participation

Besides the participation of the two main groups his involvement has also been, among other things, substantial in the following sub-groups:

  • Functional Needs Sub-Group (FAST)
  • Participant Mobile Accessibility Task Force (MATF TF)
  • Participant Silver Task Force
  • Errors Prevention and Handling Sub-Group


Dutch Payments Association

Betaalvereniging logo

Nationally chairing the Workgroup Accessibility and Inclusivity (WTI Dutch Payments Association), Jake was responsible for leading the maturing of inclusiveness and accessibility for all the big banks in the Netherlands.

The group, ING Bank, ABN AMRO Bank, Rabobank, Triodos Bank, and De Volksbank, provides a collaborative and connecting platform for members to discuss operational, tactical and practical topics related to inclusivity and accessibility, and to arrive at interpretation, tools, knowledge-sharing, guidelines and concrete collaborative projects:

  • Increase awareness among members of the Payments Association working groups across the board;
  • Functions as a sounding board group for the MOB Working Group Accessibility and Availability;
  • -Tell And show on behalf of the sectors the collective;
  • When necessary and / or desired, links up with government programs (related to (digital) inclusion, digitization, etc.);
  • Clarifies Processes related to inclusivity and accessibility
  • Shares best practices with members of outside working groups

ECSG European Accessibility Act Task-Force

ECSG logo

Co-Chairing the ECSG European Accessibility Act Task-Force he was dedicated to:

  • Ensure that the ECSG website and publications meet the EAA requirements;
  • Ensure that all the ECSG documentation and tools to access the documentation meet the EAA requirements;
  • Ensure that the Volume integrates requirements (either by making reference to the Directive or by defining specific requirements) for the ECSG stakeholders to meet the EAA requirements;
  • Ensure that the 3 points above are achieved according to the timeframe defined by the Directive and its implementation into the Belgian law;
  • Liaise with relevant bodies, including those tasked by the EC (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) and possibly with Consumer Associations.


United Nations logo

For the UN Jake fulfills an ambassador role for the CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

Ambassador UN CRPD

Since 2016 Jake has been very active as an ambassador of the UN CRPD and actively contributes to spread the knowledge and to raise awareness of the existence and necessity of the rights of people with disabilities.

“The CRPD changed the definitions,” Jake explains. “It was no longer the person who had a problem, but the product, service or environment; if it had barriers that hindered a disabled person’s full participation in society on an effective and equal basis with others, then it needed changing.”

Jake Abma

Collaborating across banks

Jake was one of the initiators of an accessibility ‘Task Force’ from within the G3ict, set up in conjunction with the UN, which currently involves nine banks in many different countries, sharing best practices on a range of topics.

“Accessibility in banks extends to branches, ATMs, banking cards, basically any financial transaction where people are involved.”

Jake Abma

Platform Digitoegankelijk BZK

Ministry of Internal Affairs logo

For the Ministry of Internal Affairs Jake is also advising the government on these topics from within the Platform Digitoegankelijk

The Platform Digitoegankelijk (Platform Digital Accessibility) of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations will propose amendments, ideas, concerns, interpretation and clarification of the Web Guidelines into consideration and issue a non-binding opinion thereon to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

“Being involved in national as well as international working groups for many years now puts me in the privileged position of leading the way globally from a standards perspective.

Working group involvement translates directly into my professional life as this is entwined and applied on a daily basis..”

Jake Abma

Jake’s passion is guiding and mentoring, not teaching although you might learn something along the way, about removing barriers in digital technology making it accessible to everyone.